Age preferences for mates as related to gender, own age, and involvement level

Bram P. Buunk, Pieternel Dijkstra, Douglas Kenrick, Astrid Warntjes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

84 Scopus citations


The present study examined desired minimum and maximum ages for mates across five different levels of relationship involvement (marriage, serious relationship, falling in love, casual sex, and sexual fantasies) comparing individuals of 20, 30, 40, 50, and 60 years old. Consistent with previous findings, women preferred partners of their own age, regardless of their own age and regardless of the level of relationship involvement. Men, on the other hand, regardless of their own age, desired mates for short-term mating and for sexual fantasies who were in their reproductive years. However, with regard to long-term mates, men preferred mates who, although younger than them, were sometimes above the age of maximum fertility. Explanations for these findings are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)241-250
Number of pages10
JournalEvolution and Human Behavior
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2001


  • Age preferences
  • Evolutionary psychology
  • Mate selection
  • Sex

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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